This is a copy of ADIMS’ letter, sent March 8, 2021, to Jim Russell, executive director BC Shellfish Growers Assn, Alex Munro manager Fanny Bay Oysters, and cc’d to Chris Marrie, Aquaculture Environmental Operations DFO in Campbell River and Barb Mills of ADIMS
Dear Jim and Alex,
Barb raised this briefly outlined this issue at the Alternative Practices Cttee meeting last week.
Islanders are approaching us about the many zap straps they’re finding on Denman’s beaches. Each strap has been cut open, probably when workers haul in a line of the new oyster pouches and cut them loose. When this new system was introduced, the zap straps became common, as in past years thousands of pieces of “oyster blue” rope washed ashore, the debris from another system of oyster culture.
Not only are the zap straps used to attach the new pouches, they’re also used to secure the plastic fencing to the rebar, and attach netting to ropes.
Both the zap straps and the oyster blue are like plastic straws or cups: single use items that get tossed because there are no plans for disposing of them properly. Over the years, that would be too many zap straps going into Baynes Sound.
A garbage bin has been set up at our recycling centre just to receive these zap straps, and other bits of plastic debris including oyster blue. This is being organized by the Marine Guardian Ct-tee of the Denman Residents Association, and has been discussed on the Denman Bulletin Board on Facebook, so the irritation is real in the community. Who is willing to tolerate single-use plastics being thrown into the ocean, especially when it so clearly comes from industry?
As well, the zap straps become brittle quite quickly and break up into smaller piec-es, and concerns for local birds and wildlife have been raised.
To quote from the harmonized shellfish aquaculture application:“Shellfish aqua-culture conditions of licence prohibit the introduction of refuse into the marine en-vironment. Do you have a plan in place to manage your infrastructure, gear and equipment to minimize the generation of debris and ensure any debris generated does not enter the marine environment?”
We’re asking that you be proactive in dealing with this single-use piece of plastic. Perhaps workers can wear some type of convenient fanny pack to hold the used straps.
Each new culture system has it’s devel-opment period, and now is the time to work out the bugs. Please take our community’s concerns seriously, and consider the zap straps to be a bug that needs to be disposed of systematically. Better a bug than a feature!
Look forward to hearing back from you on this issue,